#61 Central Michigan Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Central Michigan Chippewas

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #61
Conference Rank: #1 Mid-American

Central Michigan Team Page#61 Central Michigan Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Central Michigan Basketball Tickets

Central Michigan had a superb turnaround. They went 3-15 in Mid-American Conference action two years ago and last season they won the MAC West with a 12-6 mark. Coach Keno Davis was on his way to turning around the Chippewas, but this was quicker than anybody expected. CMU had a very young team last year that reached the NIT and MAC Tournament final. Now their top nine minute earners return, led by senior guard Chris Fowler. Fowler spearheads the high scoring CMU offense and dished out a conference high 6.1 assists per game. He also led CMU in scoring with 16.2 points per game. This is Fowler’s senior year and he has been through a lot with Coach Davis while rebuilding the program. A trip to the NCAA Tournament is the perfect way to cap off a great career.

2014-15 Record: 23-9, 12-6
2014-15 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Keno Davis
Coach Record: 44-50 at Central Michigan, 118-105 overall

Who’s Out:
Austin Keel is the lone departure. He was in the regular ten man rotation, but averaged just 8.5 minutes per game. However, in those limited minutes, the 6-3 guard was effective and productive. He averaged 4.4 points per game and was always at least a threat to hit a three-pointer or two.

Who’s In:
Central Michigan adds incoming freshmen guards Hunter Hale, Janeau Joubert and Corey Redman. Redman, a 6-5 wing, is the one to watch. Should Coach Davis want a ten man rotation again this season, Redman is the likely candidate to step into that role. He is a big, tough guard who can attack the basket effectively and also help out on the glass, which is something this team could use help with.

Who to Watch:
Braylon Rayson, Rayshawn Simmons, Luke Meyer and John Simons will join Fowler in the starting lineup. Coach Davis used the same starting five all of last season and there is no reason to change that now. Rayson ranked third on the team with 11.0 points per game and knocked down 56 three-pointers at a 35.4 percent clip. For CMU, the best three-point shooting team in the conference, 35.4 percent is not all that great, but it is still pretty good. Simmons, a 6-4 senior guard, is not much of a shooter, but he is a great secondary ball handler and he will use his large frame to effectively attack the basket. Meyer stepped into a starting role as a freshman mainly because Coach Davis needed a big body in the starting lineup. The 6-11 forward only averaged 15.9 minutes per game and averaged just 5.5 points and 2.8 rebounds. However, with that year of experience under his belt, Meyer should be more productive and be able to play closer to 20 minutes per game. Simons is the star of the frontcourt. There are a lot of shooters on this team, but none are better than Simons. He connected on 45.5 percent of his 200 three-point attempts. That is a lot of three-pointers. But the 6-8 senior is more than just a shooter. He is also the team’s top rebounder and a decent defender as well.

Final Projection:
This team has been building for this season. The NIT berth was nice, but this group will be eyeing an NCAA Tournament spot this time around. With Fowler and Simons entering their senior seasons, now is the time. And Fowler and Simons have plenty of help too. The bench consists of sharp shooter Josh Kozinski, big guard Austin Stewart and frontcourt depth with senior Blake Hibbitts and promising sophomore DaRohn Scott. The MAC was stronger last year then they have been in quite a while, so it will not be easy, but Central Michigan should be considered the team to beat.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Chris Fowler, Senior, Guard, 16.2 points per game
Braylon Rayson, Junior, Guard, 11.0 points per game
Rayshawn Simmons, Senior, Guard, 9.1 points per game
John Simons, Senior, Forward, 12.3 points per game
Luke Meyer, Sophomore, Forward, 5.5 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.3 (12th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.3 (231, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.7 (40, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.5 (255, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 10.1 (3, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.3 (62, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.5 (59, 3)
Rebound Margin: 0.1 (190, 9)
Assists Per Game: 14.0 (73, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.2 (14, 1)


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